Expat life is hard.
And home leave is exhausting physically and mentally.
There are the good times. The emotional reunions, happy tears in the airport, hugs after 18 months of not seeing each other, fun with friends, special times with family, shopping trips and afternoons filled with tea and laughter...
But then it's time to say goodbye. It takes no time at all to slip back into step with good friends but all too soon the clock says it's "see you soon" time.
It's never easy but today Charlotte broke my heart. She's been sad every day that we've had to wave goodbye to friends she has happily played with, family she has bonded with but today she had to say goodbye to Grandma and Grandad after spending the weekend with them. She refused to get into the car then burst into tears saying "I won't see them again! I want to live in England!". My poor little girl is starting to understand how far away we are.
The kids have been so good over the past two years and made ex-pat life so much easier for us. They were practically babies when we left and have made us so proud with how well they have settled into life in America, how good they are on the journeys over the 'pond' and adaptable they are in many different situations.
This whole experience is making us stronger as individuals and as a family. We will take the ups and the downs but today was hard.
I gave my little girl an extra big snuggle at bedtime tonight.